Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a Series of Tubes

I've long read with fascination the Bush administration obsession with "competition" on Amtrak. Anyone who has thought a few minutes about this gets that you actually can't have the kind of competition they suggest on a congested set of tracks. What they really mean, if not say, is that they want competing firms to bid for the right to own a government sanctioned monopoly so they can join the expanding patronage system that our federal government has become.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is threatening to veto legislation that would fund Amtrak for the next five years.

The Bush administration says House members didn't include language in the bill making the railroad more accountable for its decisions.

The legislation would authorize more than $14 billion dollars and set up a program of federal matching grants that states could use to set up or expand rail service.

But the White House says the measure provides little opportunity for competition on existing Amtrak routes and doesn't include provisions that would condition Amtrak's funding based on the progress of reforms.